While we aren’t even halfway through baseball season yet, it’s already been quite a year for rookies in the majors.
In the American League, Aaron Judge is setting a new standard for power hitters and giving Yankees fans hope that they have found another fresh-faced franchise player that will be with them for years to come.
But as impressive as Judge’s numbers are, Dodgers’ rookie Cody Bellinger is debatably showing an even greater aptitude for slugging with the best in the world.
Bellinger was called up in April after Joc Pederson went down with an injury. Despite not being called up until 20 games into the season, Bellinger is already leading the National League with 24 home runs on the year, three ahead of his closest competition, the Mets’ Jay Bruce.
In just 57 games in the big leagues he’s already posted numbers any rookie would be able to boast about with a slash line of .274/.342/.679 and 55 RBIs to go along with his league-leading home run total.
Bellinger has reached his high home run total by showing a proclivity for producing power in bunches. He already has six games with two home runs, making him the fastest player in history to reach the feat and already just one shy of Mark McGwire’s rookie record for multi-homer games.
He produced his sixth two-home-run game on Sunday, helping the Dodgers to their tenth straight win in a comeback effort against the Rockies.
Bellinger’s hot start let’s us compare him to some of greatest power hitters of the past 20 years. As one of four rookies to ever hit 20 home runs before the All Star break, he’s already put himself in the company of Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.
Not only is his swing producing results rarely seen from a player so young in the majors, it’s also gorgeous to watch. Bellinger scoops the ball out of the air and over the wall and his follow-through makes it look as if the bat is a natural extension of his arms. The way he shifts from an upright stance to lower his shoulder and step into his swing is out of comic book where our hero was bitten by a radioactive baseball.
It’s also producing reactions of shock and awe from his Dodger teammates, as you’ll see below.
There’s still a long way to go in the season, but at this moment the Dodgers are sitting atop the extremely competitive NL West standings with the help of Bellinger’s bat. And while there’s no official word yet on this year’s Home Run Derby competitors, it’s clear that Bellinger deserves consideration.
A swing-off between him and Judge has the potential to be the greatest display of power we’ve ever seen from rookie batters.
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